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Creator:
Thomas Wyck, 1616–1677, Dutch
Title:

View of the Waterhouse and Old St. Paul's, London

Date:
ca. 1663
Medium:
Gray wash and graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 9 × 13 1/2 inches (22.9 × 34.3 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed on verso in graphite, center: "This Drawing is by Wyck, & represents the | Waterhouse, & old St. Paul's in the distance."

Watermark

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1975.4.1446
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Access:
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open to Yale ID holders by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:12902
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The present drawing, believed to have been in Horace Walpole’s collection at Strawberry Hill, was made shortly after Wyck’s arrival in London in 1663 (the pagoda-shaped water house shown here was demolished in 1664). In the distance, at the right of the composition, is Old St. Paul’s, which would soon be consumed in the Great Fire of 1666. Wyck’s use of gray wash, a technique he is credited with popularizing—if not introducing—among English artists, gives this view contrasts and shadows.

Wyck’s English compositions, like those of Claesz Janz. Visscher and Wenceslaus Hollar, are witness to a changing urban landscape. Apart from their own artistic merits and aesthetic qualities, these works have historical significance. Wyck has recorded vistas of a city that was undergoing—or about to see—major transformations. The Great Fire was a defining moment for all Londoners, artists included: for those fortunate enough to have been spared its destruction, the event gave a temporal standpoint from which it became possible to designate a before and after cityscape. Wyck’s particular interest in this event and its aftermath is demonstrated by several of his works, such as a “View of London Before the Great Fire” (collection of the Duke of Devonshire), a drawing showing the Newgate Prison surrounded by plumes of smoke (Paul Mellon Collection, YCBA), and sketches depicting the Ruins of Old St Paul's (Wakefield Collection and Bodleian Library).

Stephane Roy

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 243, no. 7, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

John Schofield, St. Paul's Cathedral before Wren, English Heritage, Swindon [England], 2011, p. 210, fig. 5.39, DA687.S14 S34 2011 (YCBA)


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